Don’t make this mistake at the start of your job interview

 In Body language, Delivery, Entrepreneur, Environment, Facial expression, Feedback, Job Interview, Learning from Luminaries, Luminary, Meetings, Message creation, News, The Winning Voice, What not to do

Last week I did a coaching session with a client who was about to have a job interview for a C level position.

In my preparation for the session I reviewed some notes and prior research I had collected from coaching prior clients. In reviewing my notes I came across a handout from website I had visited a few years back (I don’t know the source).

In the handout it was suggested, in response to the question:

“Why do you think this could be the right opportunity for you at this point in your career and why do you think you might be the right leader for us?”


“The best candidates will answer this with a crisp 4 to 6 minute narrative about their career, their relevant experience, their professional interests and aspirations, and a top-line assessment of the opportunity.” **

I disagree with the suggested 4 to 6 minute time length.

In four to six minutes an audience’s attention will be diluted, and a speaker’s impact will be undermined.

My view, is that

the best candidates will take 90-120 seconds to answer the first question.

You can convey a substantial amount of information within two minutes.

By the way, a good structure for answering the first question – which I’ve share in prior posts – is to use a Message(s), Flesh out the message(s), Repeat the message(s) structure. Limit the Messages section to three bullet point sentences. In the Flesh out section include a short case history example that showcases a significant achievement.

** The handout also suggest the following:

“Often times this is the most important question of an interview, because as we all know, first impressions are lasting impressions.  It is in this questions, along with the hellos, handshakes, and introductions, where those all-important first impressions are made. I agree with these points. Interviewers – though they won’t admit it – and are sometimes unaware of it themselves, will make their decision to hire a candidate or not, based on the first impressions of a candidate.

Own the Conversation

Implementation suggestion

Imagine that your company has made all team members, including you, reapply for their current roles. Everyone needs to to answer questions posed by a senior executive panel from your company.

Then complete these steps:

  • Plan a mock 90-120 second answer to the question Tell me why you should keep your role?
  • Audio record or video record yourself delivering your answer to that question.
  • Watch the clip and judge your performance.
  • Give yourself a reward (a tap on your forearm, an internal high five, draw a smiley face) for watching and judging your performance.
  • Save the clip in a job interview folder for future reference.


p.s. As I’ve said in a prior post I am impressed by business people et al who project a significant amount of energy when they interact with me. Add great customer service to that energy and you’ve won me over for life . . . well maybe not for life . . . maybe half of the rest of my life…

Anyway, I met several persons, who project bundles of energy and delivers great customer service at Drews Pharmacy in North Sydney. Michael Nguyen, one of the pharmacists, is particularly impressive, though the entire team is very good. I recommend, if you live or work in the lower North Shore, that you visit Drews Pharmacy

Their address is: Ground Level of Elizabeth Plaza, walk up the hill from Aldi, then turn left where Mount Street meets Brett Whiteley Place, we are up the ramp from Flight Centre. Phone: (02) 9922 6869.

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